Game On: Hornets @ Grizzlies (Live Chat!)

Published: March 4, 2011

CP3 has answered the New York questions, Monty has laid down the law, and the fans have done their parts by chanting the mantras. Now all that is left is the part where the Hornets get back on track, and it starts tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Hornets win tonight and they are sixth in the West; they lose and they fall to eighth, with Utah, Phoenix, and Houston hot on their tails. Too soon to say this is a must win, but let’s just say it would be huge given the Hornets recent slide.

While a win would be nice, it will by no means be easy. Even without their 80 million dollar man Rudy Gay, Memphis has been playing good ball of late. They have won 12 of their last 16 (ironically the Hornets have lost 12 of their last 16) and they are doing it on both ends of the court. They have held opponents under 100 points in 12 of those games, and are averaging 103 PPG in the stretch.

Losing Gay has allowed Memphis to give more playing time to guys like Sam Young, Darrell Arthur, and Tony Allen- defensive minded players who have played above their heads on the offensive end as well. Arthur, Allen, and Young have increased their scoring by a combined 16 PPG since Gay has been out, and now Shane Battier, Leon Powe and Jason Williams have been added to contribute as well. This team goes 12 deep on some nights and can play multiple styles. Long story short, this team can be scary. This ain’t your big brothers’ Grizzlies.

Keys to Victory for the Hornets

1.) Limit Free Points

The Hornets did this wonderfully in the first meeting, as the Grizzlies took just 15 free throws (making 12). Rudy Gay took 6 of those and he won’t be playing tonight. The key was that Emeka Okafor and David West were able to bother Zach Randolph without sending him to the line, as he only took one free throw in that overtime Hornets victory. Memphis got some easy points in the paint that night off of some beautiful passing, but the Hornets were aggressive without fouling, as they registered 7 blocks in the game. With the struggles the Hornets have had on offense recently, they have to make sure that they limit easy points, and there is nothing easier than a free throw on your home court.

2.) Win the Turnover battle

These two teams are at the top of the league when it comes to not giving away possessions and the first game showcased that, as Memphis had 12 turnovers and the Hornets had just 10. The reason why it is so important for the Hornets to win this battle is because of Memphis’s ability to capitalize on turnovers in the open court. Memphis forced the Spurs into committing 22 turnovers Tuesday night and scored 30 points off those turnovers. Over the course of the season, Memphis is #1 in turnovers forced, as teams average nearly 17 against Memphis.

The Hornets want to keep the scoring low and make Memphis work for every point, and that is why limiting turnovers and keeping the Grizz of the line are so important. The key to having quality possessions is having a leader who sets the pace and makes the right decisions, which brings me to the numero uno key to the game…..

3.) Christopher Paul must play like CP3!

CP3 was a once-in-a-generation PG, a transcendent player that gave you a chance to win every time he took the court- no matter who the other 4 guys on his team were. CP3 knew when to get teammates involved and when to look for his own shot, he could get in the lane at will, and he absolutely dominated the last five minutes of a ball game. The Hornets haven’t had CP3 in over a month now; instead, they have been giving Christopher Paul his minutes.

Christopher Paul picks up his dribble far too early in possessions. Christopher Paul is allergic to the lane, and instead tends to stand around on the perimeter while his teammates try to create shots for themselves. Christopher Paul is the antithesis of Marcus Thornton’s parents- because he can’t make a Bucket. Christopher Paul must go back to the non-basketball playing island from which he came, and CP3 must return. If not, perhaps Jarrett Jack is up for the challenge.

Other News and Notes:

– Memphis signed Leon Powe, a guy the Hornets were apparently targeting. Oh well, he would have been nice, but no luck. According to a buddy in Cleveland, he can really cheer loudly on the bench and that would have been huge for the Hornets. Jason Smith and David Anderson cheer well, but their voice can’t project in some buildings, especially Dallas. It would have been nice to have Powe’s voice in the playoffs, but no luck.

– Mad props to Dariusz for the banner. He said that since the Hornets have played no D of late, he thought maybe putting Monty on the banner will get them to step up. Here’s hoping it works.

– Christopher averaging less than 12 points per game on 35% shooting over last 11 games. Ugh!

– There is a rumor going around that David West yelled at CP3 in the locker room after the New York Knicks game on Wednesday, and it is just that- a rumor. From what I can tell it started on a Spurs forum from one of those guys who claims to have a “friend” and it spread from there. Not one credible source has reported anything like this. There is tons of media in and around the locker room after the game (especially in NY!). Believe me, if this happened, it would have been front page news.

– Emeka struggling offensively since returning from injury, just 5 PPG in his last three games. Shooting 25% from the field in his last two. Time to get him some easy buckets.

– Hornets have won 16 of last 20 against Memphis, with CP3 being a big reason for those victories. That guy loved playing Memphis back in the day. I hope he shows up tonight.

Vegas Zone: Memphis is 5.5 point underdog, over/under set at 183.5. Memphis has covered in 4 of their last 5 meetings. I say the Hornets buck that trend and blast the over. Hornets 98 Grizzlies 95.

– And now, you know what time it is. My favorite part of Game On posts and comments, as all of you Cap…..That…….Pic


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.